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WASHINGTON – To provide 21st century health care to South Texas veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today that the firm of Boyer Harlingen L.C. will construct a new 120,000-square-foot health care center in Harlingen, which VA will lease for a minimum of 20 years.
The three-story facility, which is scheduled to open in October 2010, will be located on the campus of the University of Texas Regional Medical Education Center at Harlingen. It will offer a full range of outpatient services, including six surgical suites, and clinics for prosthetics care, oncology and sensory aids.
“South Texas veterans have earned improved access to VA’s world-class health care,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake. “This new health care center will increase VA’s ability to care for Rio GrandeValley veterans by putting health care closer to where they live.”
VA estimates that once the center is completed, it will eliminate about 95 percent of the four-hour trips many veterans enrolled for VA care currently have to make to San Antonio for medical services. In collaboration with the University of Texas Regional Academic Health Center, VA will use the new facility to provide a full range of expanded services, including specialty and diagnostic services such as pharmacy, digital x-rays, CT scans, MRIs and other services.
Physicians at the center will also perform outpatient surgeries, including cataract removals, diagnostic colonoscopies and prostate biopsies. VA also plans to expand the services it provides at its health care facilities in McAllen and Corpus Christi. Inpatient care will be provided at local South Texas private-sector hospitals under contract to VA, with certain high acuity and high-tech care at VA’s AudieL.MurphyMedicalCenter in San Antonio. Plans for the new center also include parking for 750 cars in a three-story garage.
“We’re very grateful for the outstanding support of many members of Congress from Texas, which has made this project possible,” said Secretary Peake. “Senator Hutchison has worked closely with us and the South Texas community to plan this new facility. Congressman Edwards helped clear the way with the House Appropriations Committee. I also appreciate the guidance and support we’ve received from Senator Cornyn and from Congressmen Cuellar, Hinojosa and Ortiz, who have been strong advocates for improving access for the veterans of South Texas.”